USC Women Prep For OSU And Oregon At Galen
Jan. 22, 2008
USC stays home for another weekend as the Trojans look to improve their strong record at home when the Oregon schools come to town. Now 7-1 at the Galen Center this season, the Women of Troy (11-7, 4-3 Pac-10) have a pair of conference matches lined up this week, first with USC hosting Oregon State (10-8, 3-4) at 7 p.m. on Thursday (Jan. 24). The Trojans next will play Oregon (10-8, 4-3) at 2 p.m. on Saturday (Jan. 26) at the Galen Center.
Both games this week will be broadcast live on the web through Trojan TV All-Access at www.usctrojans.com. Live video and audio is available, as well as live stats on Gametracker also linked from the USC women's basketball page at usctrojans.com.
IN THE NATION
USC, Oregon State and Oregon are unranked in this week's polls.
The Beavers are 10-8 overall and 3-4 in Pac-10 play after a home sweep last week. OSU beat Washington 68-64 and WSU 60-35 last weekend. Ashley Allen leads OSU with 17.9 points per game. Head coach LaVonda Wagner is in her third season at OSU, which went 9-19 and finished eighth in the Pac-10 at 4-14 last season. USC is 31-16 all-time against the Beavers after two wins last season in Pac-10 play. The Trojans beat OSU 59-51 in Los Angeles and 68-65 in Corvallis last season.
The Ducks are 10-8 overall and 4-3 in Pac-10 play after a home sweep last week. Oregon beat Washington State 64-45 and Washington 66-64 last weekend. Taylor Lilley leads Oregon with 12.5 points per game. Head coach Bev Smith is in her seventh season at Oregon, which went 17-14 and finished sixth in the Pac-10 at 8-10 last season. USC is 31-16 all-time against the Ducks after a split last season in Pac-10 play. USC beat Oregon 79-71 in overtime in Los Angeles and lost 73-63 in Eugene last season.
USC pulled out another dramatic and tight win over crosstown rival UCLA on Saturday afternoon, tallying the Trojans' sixth straight win over the Bruins with a 64-56 victory in front of a Galen Center crowd of 8,545. USC never trailed in the game, and was led in scoring by Heather Oliver with 15 points, while Nadia Parker had her fourth double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds, and point guard Camille LeNoir had a flashy game with 12 points, six assists, four steals and a block. The victory was USC's largest margin of victory over UCLA in the past eight games, but it had been a two-point game with a minute to go when Lindsey Pluimer knocked down a three for the Bruins. Allison Jaskowiak served up five free throws in the final stretch to push USC ahead. USC actually led by as much as 21 early in the second half, but improved shooting a late push from the Bruins depleted the Trojans' advantage in the late stages of the second half. The USC defense kept UCLA off-balance in the first half, as the Bruins shot just 25 percent from the floor while the Trojans shot 44 percent. Oliver was the lone player in double figures at the break, when USC led 33-16. UCLA heated up from the floor in the second half, shooting 44 percent to end the game at 36 percent. USC was 42 percent from the floor in the game, and hit 8-of-20 threes. In the final seconds of the game, Parker hit the front end of her free throws to give USC a 59-56 lead. With 2.6 seconds left, after a Parker block on UCLA's last shot attempt, the loose ball was gathered in by Jaskowiak, who was fouled as she held onto the ball. A scuffle ensued that resulted in four technical fouls and four ejections, as an additional three UCLA players and USC player left their respective benches. Two technicals off-set, giving Jaskowiak four free throws to shoot before the one-and-one granted from the initial foul. She knocked down the first five of the six shots, ballooning USC's three-point lead to a final score of 64-56.
Brynn Cameron set USC records from 3-point range as a freshman, but had been sidelined since October 2006 by hip surgeries as well as the birth of her son Cole. In her first two games back in action, the junior guard stepped right back into her comfort zone outside the arc. Cameron led USC in scoring in USC's first two games this year, knocking down four 3-pointers in each game. Now with 24 threes this season, Cameron passed up current USC assistant coach Jody (Anton) Wynn in the record books weeks ago and she now stands all alone in the No. 3 all-time slot with 115 career 3-pointers.
Greatly missed from the USC lineup last season was point guard Camille LeNoir, who was sidelined with a hip injury. Following surgery, the junior returned to the floor this season as a redshirt junior, and wasted little time getting right back to her impressive ways on court. She's set up camp as USC's second leading scorer this season, averaging 11.0 points, 4.1 assists and 1.9 steals per game. Against Cal State Fullerton, LeNoir matched Trojan great Cheryl Miller's 100 percent effort on the floor from 1985, coming one short of Miller's 10-of-10 outing by going 9-for-9 and finishing with a season-high 19 points. LeNoir also served up a career-high eight assists in USC's Pac-10 opener against Arizona, and recently knocked down a career-high five 3-pointers in USC's upset win over then-No. 2 Stanford. She ranks No. 7 all-time at USC in career threes with 102.
Nadia Parker made herself well at home in the Bahamas, serving up 28 points and 18 rebounds in the two games on her way to her first-ever Pac-10 Player of the Week honors. The junior center had a career day in USC's comeback win over Virginia Tech, tallying career highs of 21 points and 11 rebounds (also her first career double-double) and a shooting percentage of 9-of-11 (.818) to help spark USC to victory. She's now recorded a total of four double-doubles, most recently grabbing 10 rebounds and adding 13 points in a win over UCLA last weekend. Parker stands tall as USC's leading scorer (12.1 ppg) and top rebounder (6.8 rpg). She's hit double figures in 12 of USC's 18 games to date.
BLASTS FROM THE PAST
The first thing fans and followers will notice about this season's pack of Women of Troy is a group of faces who haven't quite been on the forefront of the Trojan lineup in a while. Three players who redshirted last season due to injuries et al are back in the mix. Standout point guard Camille LeNoir has healed up following hip surgery; Markisha Lea steps back in as a senior with cartilage intact in her knee; Brynn Cameron sustained her second hip surgery and gave birth to her first child on her way back to the court. Further balancing out the departure of five 2007 graduates are a pair of seniors who have extended their Trojan careers in unique ways. Kate Henderson and Allison Jaskowiak were freshmen together in 2003-04. Henderson wound up transferring after that season, but has since returned to USC and has worked her way back into the picture. Jaskowiak was granted a medical redshirt for that freshman season and has thus received another season of eligibility that allows her to return for her final year on the Trojan roster. With LeNoir, Cameron and Jaskowiak alone back on the court, USC taps back into the talent pool that helped spark the Women of Troy's resurgence to the NCAA Tournament scene with back-to-back postseason runs in 2004-05 and 2005-06.
Known for their stifling defense, USC seniors Allison Jaskowiak and Simone Jelks have also come up strong on the offensive end this season. Jelks averaged 2.6 points per game last season as a junior, and has upped her tally to 5.1 ppg so far this season to help in USC's balanced offensive effort. Jaskowiak has also increased her offensive role, going from 3.1 ppg last season to 3.7 this year. The two seniors have already tallied more 3-pointers than they hit all of last season. Jelks has nailed 11 to better last year's mark of seven, and Jaskowiak has knocked down 13 so far to beat last year's 11.
INJURY BUG BITES BACK
It seemed to be the storyline of the 2006-07 season, but the injury bug hasn't seemed to shake completely loose of the Women of Troy yet. USC will have two players sidelined this season with torn ACLs. For redshirt freshman Jacki Gemelos -- considered the best player in the country coming out of high school in 2006 -- it is an all-too-familiar situation. Gemelos tore her ACL in her final high school game before coming to USC, redshirting her first season. She then reinjured the same knee in the offseason, bringing up a second surgery and pushing the highly anticipated guard's return to the floor back further. True freshman Stefanie Gilbreath endured the same injury just before the 2007 McDonald's All-American Game, leaving the Trojans short another outstanding newcomer for the 2007-08 season.
Adding a serious depth charge to the backcourt is transfer Heather 'Ollie' Oliver, a member of the Australian Under-21 National Team, which won silver at the U-21 Women's World Championships this summer. She brings a smooth outside shot as well as stifling defensive abilities to the Trojan roster. She tallied her first points as a Trojan with a nine-point outing against Colorado on Nov. 18, and has now become a mainstay in the starting lineup, starting the past 11 games. Honored as the Women of Troy Classic MVP, she now is averaging 8.5 points per game after setting a new career high with 16 points against Washington State ¬-- all 16 came in the second half. She has posted double-digit efforts in seven of the past nine games.
USC boasts a couple of different looks to the point this season, as 5-6 junior floor general Camille LeNoir returns to action after a year out to heal from hip surgery. She's complimented by 6-2 sophomore Hailey Dunham. Despite the height difference, the pair combine forces well in running the Trojans offense, each bringing their own spark to the offense to keep opposing defenses on their toes. LeNoir had her return to the court this season delayed a week, but when the junior point guard hit the floor for her first game against Colorado on Nov. 18, she came out strong with nine points and three assists in the game. The Trojan point guard tandem of Dunham (87 pts, 46 asts) and LeNoir (176 pts, 66 asts) is averaging 15.8 points and 6.7 assists per game.
The Women of Troy welcome three new members to the Trojan family this season. Assistant coach Jody Wynn recently gave birth to her second daughter, Kaeli, in October 2007, and junior Brynn Cameron has her son, Cole, fresh off his first birthday. And senior Allison Jaskowiak added a new name to her roster page when she married former USC baseball star Ian Kennedy in October.
Sophomores Aarika Hughes and Morghan Medlock both have stepped up as key contributors in their second season at Troy. Both versatile players with ball-handling skills and a slick 3-point shot to go along with size and strength, the pair have picked up the pace on all accounts this year. Hughes and Medlock combined for 9.0 points per game last season, and are averaging 13.8 together this year. Hughes has upped a freshman year average of 2.6 ppg and seven total 3-pointers to a sophomore campaign where she averages 6.1 ppg and has nailed 17 threes already. Medlock produced 6.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game as a freshman and has delivered 7.7 ppg and 5.7 rpg this season.
With her true freshman counterpart redshirting the season, center Kari LaPlante carries the torch as the lone freshman on the court for the Trojans this year. Freshman guard Stefanie Gilbreath will redshirt following offseason knee surgery. LaPlante towers as the tallest Trojan on the roster, setting up the 6-5 freshman to see significant time in the paint this year. She tallied her first points as a Trojan in USC's win over Colorado on Nov. 18, putting in two points and pulling down six rebounds for the Women of Troy. LaPlante now averages 3.3 points and 2.6 rebounds per game.
USC used nine different players in its starting lineup rotations last year. Six players who saw time as starters return for 2007-08 -- sophomores Hailey Dunham, Aarika Hughes and Morghan Medlock and seniors Nicole Berberet, Allison Jaskowiak and Simone Jelks. This year USC is on a similar page, with nine different players getting at least one starting nod, as the Trojans have utilized seven different starting lineups.
The Women of Troy have been slotted at No. 4 in the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Coaches Poll and the Media Poll. The Trojans received 56 points in the coaches poll to come in behind top pick and defending conference champ Stanford (79 points), No. 2 Arizona State (71) and No. 3 pick California (68). Sitting below the Trojans in fifth is UCLA with 44 points.